Promoting Architectural Innovation in the AIA

Innovation through “design thinking” is what architects have always done—we’re problem solvers by nature and by training. Innovation should be celebrated and encouraged, especially that which creates new tools, improves processes or provides new insight.

I wish for an American Institute of Architects (AIA) that more directly supports research, going well beyond the current Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK). We should seek an effective balance of support for innovation, research, and awareness of external forces with potential to marginalize our profession.

Another form of innovation the AIA should continue to identify and elevate are instances when those who start with architecture but turn to alternative career paths in which their architectural education primed analysis/synthesis skills bring notable outcomes. We indirectly provide a service to the profession by promoting awareness of the expansive value to society of the architecturally-educated.

Something we can all do with the AIA’s encouragement is apply our problem solving, consensus building skills to civic leadership settings. The AIA’s role is to locate where this is already happening and who’s doing it, then make these stories a central part of the AIA’s public profile. Aggressive promotion will prove inspirational for those in the profession considering community involvement while fortifying the notion of the architect as innovator in the public eye.

To view James’s thoughts on other issues facing the AIA and the architecture industry, click the below links.

The Role of Architects and the AIA for the Public Good
Promoting Pay Equity, Gender Equality and Diversity Inclusion in Architecture 
Prioritizing Sustainability throughout the Architecture Profession
Engaging the Current Generation of Emerging Professionals
The Importance of Group Political Action to Architects
Influencing AIA’s Role in Influencing Architectural Education
We Need to Reinforce the AIA Pipeline
Live or Die: Overcoming the Architecture Industry’s Biggest Challenge
Striving for Greater Inclusivity in AIA of Non-Traditional Architects